I’ve been writing recently about creating a System Center Lab and installing Microsoft’s Operations Manager 2007 in a distributed install. These posts are referenced below:

Now, I am installing System Center (SC) Data Protection Manager (DPM) 2007 SP1 into the lab so that I can protect Hyper-V hosts. Given the number of products I am installing in the lab, I will virtualize the DPM server itself in a Hyper-V virtual guest. At some point, I would like to have all the System Center products running on a SQL server 2008 database, but for now I am using SQL 2005 Enterprise SP2. I need to limit the SQL instance, so I have dedicated one physical server to be my SQL host.

I have already installed Operations Manager 2007 in the lab, and I have a physical SQL server that could have been used for DPM. Given the nature of this server (disaster recovery), I installed the SQL 2005 instance with DPM locally to prevent a possible issue of network connectivity loss between the DPM server and the SQL server, thus eliminating the database as a single point of failure. This type of problem is entirely preventable using proper planning, but if it occurs, your backup protection is effectively rendered useless.

(As a separate point of interest, there are some gotchas to installing SQL Server 2005 and getting it to work properly on Server 2008 so that SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) can be installed.)

All my colleagues who have installed DPM 2007 ran into installation issues. These were all because of either not being familiar with the requirements or missing Windows Updates. Please review the requirements for DPM carefully.

If the SQL server is remote, you need to run sqlprep.msi from the DPM2007 DVD on the SQL server. This will prepare the SQL server with the DPM database. This utility can be found under \DPM2007\MSI on the installation media.
(Note: If you run sqlprep.msi on the DPM server by accident, this will install Data Protection Manager Support Tools, which will prevent the DPM server installation from completing and must be uninstalled before proceeding.)

Next, I joined my virtual guest server to an Active Directory domain, which is a DPM requirement. To do this, you either need to have the entire environment virtualized or configure at least one network connection of the virtual guest to be external and using a physical NIC installed on the host (Hyper-V) server.

DPM 2007 is extremely finicky with the system requirements, so take at least a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the requirements here.

Next, I added the Windows Powershell feature through Server Manager. Then, I had to add the Single Instance Storage service (SIS). To do this, open a Command Prompt as administrator and type:

Start /wait ocsetup.exe SIS-Limited /quiet /norestart

Then, restart the system.

Try to make sure that you install any Windows Updates that are required on the DPM server. I had a slight issue with setup when I was unable to locate the Active Directory Domain services, even though I was logged in as a Domain Admin and the system was properly joined to a domain. Installing any applicable Windows Updates seemed to resolve this.

Be careful that you are logging in as a domain administrator or someone with administrative rights in the domain. Otherwise, you’ll run into issues with the DPM server not being able to contact the Active Directory domain.

I applied SP1 to the DPM server to take advantage of some new support, including fully protecting Hyper-V workloads.

Once the DPM server is installed, a disk or disks need to be added to contain the protection groups (workloads) that DPM will be protecting.

The trick to accessing disks to be used by DPM is to configure pass-through disks (presented as physical in Hyper-V). These need to be offline on the host server. DPM then can use them and will convert them to dynamic for use with the protection group data.

Installing DPM in this way allows you to use a virtual machine for the DPM server as opposed to dedicating a physical server for this role. This allows any of the underlying advantages of virtual machines, such as high availability, as long as the disk access is carefully configured.

Have you installed Data Protection Manager in your environment? Would the ability to make the DPM server virtual be useful in your environment?